Friday, January 26, 2007


I'm sure, at some point, as kids, most of us narrowed our eyes at something our parents did and mumbled to ourselves, "When I grow up, I'm never gonna ________ (fill in the blank). I know I did.

During a recent exchange of emails, a friend mentioned that while growing up, his family always drank powdered milk. He promised himself, when he grew up, he'd NEVER drink it again. Lo and behold, he says now that's all he buys (LOL).

How does that happen? How do we end up doing the exact same thing or things we once vowed NEVER to do? I'm not really sure. I do know for me, the blank in the statement, "When I grow up, I'm never gonna________" would be listen to jazz.

I can remember just as clearly the day, I vowed never to get caught listening to the maddening sounds my Dad seemed to love so well. We were living in Idaho at the time. I was probably somewhere between the 3rd and 4th grade. It was a Saturday morning and as usual, my Dad had the stereo on full blast. The song, the one he'd been playing over and over again and for several Saturdays straight, was one entitled,"Compared To What," and performed by Les McCann and Eddie Harris.

I'm not sure if I hated the song or was just tired of hearing it every doggone Saturday. I do know that I found some of the lyrics particularly disturbing, including the following--

"Slaughter houses are killin hogs
Twisted children are killin' frogs
Poor dumb rednecks rolling logs
Tired old lady, kissin' dogs . . ."
from the song
"Compared to What"
by Les McCann and Eddie Harris
The folks killing the hogs and killing the frogs were bad enough, but the old lady kissing the dogs . . . I'm sorry, but for the life of me, I just couldn't understand why anybody in their right mind would want to listen to a song about some old lady who enjoyed kissing dogs. I remember telling myself, you know, when I grow up, I'm never gonna listen to any mess like this. I don't like jazz is what I told myself, not just that song, none of it--Coltrane, Miles, Parker, Dizzy, Lady Day . . .
Of course, years later, after I got grown and lived on my own, what became my radio station preference? Any station that played jazz, quite naturally. And on those rare occasions when I would hear "Compared To What" I'd actually stop, listen, smile and if possible turn that mess up (LOL). I'm not sure at what point it all changed, but now, I really do love the song and consider it one of my favorites.
A love for jazz is one of the more positive things I picked up from my parents. One of the more negatives, I hate to admit, was smoking. I grew up thinking smoking was one right nasty habit and vowed to never indulge. But for a brief period of time during college, finding me with a cigarette dangling from my lips wasn't all that unusual.
So, how would you fill in the blank? What do you do now that you once said, when you grew up, you'd never do?


Keith said...

My Uncle played that song for me and my brothers about 17 years ago and to this day it's one of my favorite jazz joints...

One thing that I said I'd never do that my parents did was purchase unsweetened cereal. I mean, c'mon, how much sugar did you have to put in Rice Krispies before they stopped tasting like styrofoam? It's only Froot Loops and Honey Nut Cheerios in my house!

Lori said...

That song (Compared To What) has a strange way of growing on you, doesn't it? (smile) As for the cereal thing, my hubby would be bringing "Cap N Crunch" up in here by the barrel, if he didn't think I'd give him plenty of lip about it (LOL). Thanks for adding your thoughts to The Mix.

MR said...'s me...Powdermilk. Another thing was Pine Sol. I couldn't stand that smell. Now it's always in the laundry room. Can't clean without it. I guess Mama knew. Related to this a reverse sort of way...I let my pets on all the furniture and I stand with the refrigerator door open as long as I want to.

Lori said...

Oooh MR,
I'm telling . . . You're letting your pets climb all over the furniture and standing up in front of the opened refrigerator, twidling your thumbs?! Shame on you! LOL